My Dog Wants to Rule the World
Remember that old Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, I am sure that dates me! And, even though I remember it I was still very young ha ha!
Unfortunately I still quite frequently run across people who think their dog or my dog wants to rule the world.
Actually she (my dog) probably would if she thought about it long enough; she thinks she is pretty tough stuff.
Thank goodness dogs don’t have a lot of ability to plot and plan such things or I don’t think our species would be in charge for long.
Our species is about the only one that is conniving and rational enough to plot these kinds of things.
Yet, we humans think everything that our dogs do is to dominate or control us or the world.
When in all actuality they do things for the same reason we do things, because it works, it is an instinct or it feels good.
Dogs don't have a lot of rational thought to think in the past or put plans toward the future.
During the dark ages of dog training we were lead to believe that everything that may go wrong is dominant.
- If your dog goes through the door before you, he is dominant.
- If your dog or puppy nips at you, he is dominant.
- If your dog wants to sit on the sofa, he is dominant.
- If your dog wants to sleep on your bed, he is dominant.
- If your dog pulls on the leash, he is dominant.
- If your dog steals your food, he is dominant.
- If your dog jumps on you, he is dominant.
- If your dog chews your things, he is dominant (and getting back at you).
- If your dog poops in the house, he is dominant (and he is getting back at you).
- If your dog looks into your eyes, he is dominant.
- If your dog doesn’t listen to your commands, he is dominant.
But the Truth is it is Sooo Much More Simple Than That
If your dog races through the door before you, chances are he is a faster animal than you, he knows where you are going and he wants to go too (he doesn’t want to take over the world).
If your dog nips and bites at you, chances are he has too much energy and he needs exercise and he knows this is a successful way to get you to engage with him. For more on what I Mean by Exercise click here.
If your dog wants to sit on the sofa, he is smart and realizes how cushy it is up there. We don’t sit on the floor for a reason; it is uncomfortable.
Give your dog a dog bed if you don’t want him on your furniture and click on this article for more help if you want to Keep Your Dog Off Your Furniture.
If your dog wants to sleep on your bed… see above. When my 2 year old Malinois was a puppy and my husband would let him out early in the morning on the weekend he would race back to the bedroom and jump on the bed and then become totally immobile.
He was Invisible
It was as if, if he was still no one could see him or would make him get off the bed with me… he became invisible. Because he wanted to take over the world? Ummmm no, it’s because I have a TempurPedic © and that thing is comfortable!
If your dog pulls on his leash, chances are you really haven’t spent a lot of time teaching him not to or how to act on a leash. For more on Leash Manners click here (be sure you click on and read the other articles in this series if you want excellent leash skills).
If your dog steals your food, chances are you left your food out and he likes to eat. For more help with your Thieving Dog click here.
If Your Dog Jumps on You, Chances are He Likes You.
He isn’t trying to rule the world, he is trying to get closer to your face (where dog’s interact).
He probably hasn’t been taught to keep all four feet on the ground, or given an incompatible behavior (like sitting for petting) either. If you want good manners you have to teach them to your dog.
For Help with jumping click here.
If your dog chews your things, chances are he was bored and you left your things out. It may even be that your things smell like you so he is even more happy to eat them when you are away.
For help with Chewing click here.
I Assure You He Isn’t Trying to Rule the World or Get Even with You
Dogs are simple people ;) and studies have shown they don't have the ability to plan or feel ashamed for more on that click here.
If your dog poops in the house, chances are he had to go potty, and felt like going inside wasn’t a big deal or was his only option. Sometimes I need to use the rest room too… especially when I am awake, eating, drinking and active.
If your dog looks at you, chances are he is trying to engage you or get your attention.
Unless he is staring at you from across the room with dilated pupils and growling; chances are he doesn’t have bad intentions.
Most dogs look into our eyes because we look into theirs and it is a way to read our moods and behaviors.
So many people tell me they don’t want to teach their dogs to give them eye contact and focus because that encourages dominance… um, no it gives you control of what your dog looks at; simple as that.
I don’t go around staring down dogs I don’t know, but I sure do have control of my dog’s eyes. For more on Eye Contact and Focus click here.
If Your Dog Doesn't Listen to Your Commands Chances are You Don't Train Often Enough
How often do you take your dog out and TRAIN? Not walk to the park or hang out with him in the house or go for a hike but actually work on his obedience and compliance?
How often do you have to bribe him with a treat? For more on why bribery doesn’t work and why you might be Misusing Treats click here.
If he isn’t listening, either you haven’t taught him or you aren’t devoting time to keeping his skills sharp.
If you don’t use them you’ll lose them.
Do you remember junior high algebra off the top of your head (no looking up help and it doesn’t count if you are an algebra or math teacher)?
Chances are NO, you don’t remember junior high algebra.
But if you studied your child’s algebra book for a bit, it would probably come back to you fairly quickly.
If you don’t use the things you have been taught they get filed away in another drawer in your brain somewhere and you form other habits and things you remember.
Your dog is the same way; if you haven’t worked on his basic or advanced obedience chances are he doesn’t really remember it.
He will remember his training if you are patient and work together again, but don’t expect his memory to be better than yours!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.